According to recent reports, a new type of polymer glass that mends itself when pressed together is currently in development, as of this writing.
A self-healing polymer glass is now being developed by researchers.
The technology is presently being developed by the University of Tokyo after a student discovered it by accident. The developers say the glass can heal itself from cracks and breaks.
Made from low weight polymer, the “polyther-thioureas” glass automatically repairs itself.
The research has recently been published in Science and University of Tokyo’s Professor Takuzo Aida, research leader, says the tech could be potentially used for smartphones and other devices.
“High mechanical robustness and healing ability tend to be mutually exclusive,” explained the researchers.
They were also quick to point out that other healable materials have already been invented (such as rubber and plastic) but “in most cases, heating to high temperatures, on the order of 120°C or more, to reorganize their cross-linked networks, is necessary for the fractured portions to repair.”
The self-healing glass was accidentally discovered by Yu Yanagisawa, a graduate school student.
The Guardian tells us that Yanagisawa was originally “preparing the material as a glue” but found out that when the polymer surface was cut, “the edges would adhere to each other, healing to form a strong sheet after being manually compressed for 30 seconds at 21°C.”
In an NHK interview, Yanagisawa shared:
“I hope the repairable glass becomes a new environment-friendly material that avoids the need to be thrown away if broken.”
Well, we really hope this tech becomes widely available soon. It would be awesome when that happens!
In the mean time, those of you with cracked screens can check out these cool “remedies” instead.